Friday, July 22, 2011

Helping hands (and other useful body parts)

One of my favorite features at the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books website is HaBO. Short for “Help a Bitch Out,” it allows readers to help others track down the name of a book when they remember a few details but have forgotten the title.

I’m feeling profoundly inspired by that spirit of teamwork and camaraderie.

Or maybe I’m just feeling overwhelmed and a little lazy.

Either way, you guys have proven similarly helpful over the 17 months I’ve been blogging, and I’m hoping you might be willing to lend a helping hand with a few things.

I’ll even make it worth your while.

There’s a bunch of stuff on my to-do list that I haven’t had time to research. My hope is that some of you have the answers off the top of your head. Give me whatever you’ve got – a web link or an idea or even just a good-natured “best of luck, bitch.”

I’ll choose one commenter to win a signed copy of Making Waves, and I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Fair enough?

OK, then. Do you know anything about…

Address labels
Cute ones, maybe even something that would allow me to add the Making Waves cover. Oh, and they have to be cheap. See, Wednesday’s promotion (which is still going) means I’ll end up mailing a whole bunch of bookmarks to strangers. As much as I adore strangers, I don’t always like giving them my home address, which is what would happen if I slapped my regular return address labels on the envelopes. I went out the other day and got a nifty P.O. box, which makes me feel a little like a spy. Now I need some new return address labels. Fast. Cheap. Cute. Did I mention cheap? I welcome any suggestions you might have.

Signature stickers 
You know those fancy little stickers you see on the cover of books that say “signed by author” or “signed edition” or whatever the hell they say? I want some. Anyone have a good resource?

Amazon tags
I keep hearing about Amazon tags, and I think I managed to add a bunch of them to the listings for Making Waves the other day. I’m actually not certain, since I had a big glass of wine in hand at the time. It’s possible I just downloaded porn. Anyone know anything about Amazon tags?

I finally got around to creating a Goodreads profile the other day. That’s good. I don’t know what the hell to do with it. That’s bad. I actually don't understand anything at all about Goodreads. Any tips would be much appreciated.

When I joined last fall, my plan was to put up a personal page, make lots of friends, and eventually transition to a fan page when I felt like I’d done something worthy of "liking." I haven’t done the fan page, and I’m not sure I want yet another thing to maintain. Thoughts?

Those are the main tasks weighing heavily on my to-do list right now, but feel free to advise me on pretty much anything. With Making Waves already landing on bookshelves and in mailboxes, life’s going to be pretty hectic for me for the next few weeks. I might just need you to tell me how to get dressed in the morning.


Lynnanne said...

check this site out. it allows use of personal photos / design. i've not used this site, but a friend of mine has (just recently).

Summer Frey said...

Goodreads is a sticky one, depending on how you want to use it. If it's solely as an author, I have no tips for you, other than a lot of the Bloggy people are friends, so if you friend one, you'll have access to more. Also, there's a limit to how many friends you can make in a day. :)

Okay, I just found and friended you on GR. I've been using GR for several years now and really enjoy it. I'm always a little dubious of authors who don't have any "read" books in their profile, so I usually browse through people's shelves and start adding books that I've read. I'm a judgmental bitch, so I personally like to see at least a couple hundred, but to each their own...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I love I use them for all my business cards and post cards. They're fast, cheap, and have great templates. They do have a sticker option. I was just going to start checking into it since I'll soon need them as well:

I had to start a fan page because my "friend" list on my profile page hit 5,000. That's the limit. So, I'd start a fan page right away, there's no limit on that one. It works more like a profile page now with notifying you when someone leaves a comment and such.

I'm off to get the PO box, too, which means more labels. I just use the Avery labels that match my printer. I insert a little picture along with my website addy and call it good. :)

Patty Blount said...


Cheap business cards, address labels, etc. In fact, how about FREE? Once you buy something from them, they send you promotional emails constantly. I ordered premium business cards with a photo and got them for the cost of shipping.

Goodreads - I don't know how to use it as an author (YET!)

Facebook Fan Page - Same deal.

Patrick Alan said...

Getting dressed - first you need some lacy underwear. It should also be clean, but really, not going to be to picky about that.

Next slip your feet into some clear plastic stiletto heels.

Do you have a pair of angel wings? Slide your arms through the straps of the wings.

Voila! Dressed for work! At least, that's how I get dressed in the morning.

Linda G. said...

Am avidly watching the other commenters for helpful tips. My DD also recommends She's used it herself, and likes their products.

Miranda said...

I've done cheapy address labels with Vistaprint-google for coupon codes if you use them because there are always a ton. They also have "product labels," which I think are stickers. Their quality is decent-ish.

Have also done stickers with Zazzle, though they were for wedding invitations, and Blue Bee Printing, though they were for a baby shower. Might be worth a looksie

Laura Maylene said...

I am anti-Facebook fan pages. Think about it: The fan page benefits only YOU, not your readers. You already set up a personal page where you can presumably interact with people.

I don't want to "like" some author's fan page. What does that do for me? I'd rather have the author accept me as a friend and then I can read what I'm guessing will be more interesting posts. Fan pages strike me as being nothing but promotions. Sure, someone like you might do a nice job with it, but still. I've already turned against fan pages.

And that is how I feel about that. :)

arsenio ball said...

I also don't understand the first thing about Goodreads, and I'm not particularly sure I want to.

That said, is it creepy if we add you on Facebook? (And more importantly, would "creepy" necessarily mean "bad"?)

Matthew MacNish said...

Crap. I've got nothing. I'll friend you on Goodreads though.

Unknown said...

What I've seen other authors do on Goodreads is that they join a group that fits their writing. That way they might sneakily get their own book into the monthly read and at the same time dazzle people with their wits.

I also agree with the other commenter that I get suspicious with authors who haven't added any read books. I often compare books with the authors - I figure if they like the same books that I do, the chance is greater that I'll like theirs.

Steph Schmidt said...

I haven't seen much benefit for authors to be on Goodreads other than as a landing page in case a reader wants to find their other books. You can import your blog feed into Goodreads though making it less update needy since it'll show activity. But you would have to add a few books as read otherwise it does look weird as everyone else has said.

Facebook, if you're going to do a fan page take a look at Deeanne Gist's (the Historical Romance Author). She has really grasped how to use Facebook to promote her book, get in touch with her readers and be terribly clever.

Geoffrey Cubbage said...

Goodreads kind of buffaloed me too. I came up with a few solutions and, because free content is hard to pass up, posted them a while ago:

You can get stickers printed off in bulk at pretty much any print or copy shop. Few bucks at Kinko's will probably get you enough "Signed Copy" stickers to last a while. Don't know if they'll have a book-friendly adhesive, though.

jill said...

I'm cheap and tend to try the do-it-yourself option for things like these. Many (most?) printers have formatting settings for specific sizes/brands of address labels.

I do think it would be adorable for you to incorporate the image from your blog header into the address labels!

Maja said...

I use goodreads just to share books I read, and don't know much about it beyond that.

As far as facebook goes, I think it is a good idea to make a fan page. I probably wouldn't friend someone I don't actually know on facebook. I always assume that personal pages are personal, so I don't add people unless I know them. Becoming a fan is an entirely different thing, though.

Not to mention, if I add a person named Tawna Fenske, my friends aren't very likely to notice or care, but if I become a fan of her page, they are more apt to wonder who that person is, and might click on the page.

The other consideration is that there is actually a friend limit on personal pages. I believe it's 5000, which, even though it's high, is not an absurd target for likes on a fan page. Fan pages don't have a fan limit, so there's no worry about it growing larger than you can maintain.

Congratulations Tawna; I so badly want to support you by buying your book but I'm just so broke lately. I may be able to justify getting it for my sister for her birthday though, and perusing it first. :)

Mark Simpson said...

I've had good experiences with the online printing service "prints made easy" And I'm sure the others mentioned are probably just a different version of the same thing.

A FB fan page is probably a good idea too. I wouldn't look at it as one more thing to maintain, but rather a more effective tool for what you are already doing. Just transition your professional activity there, and you can use your personal page for what it was intended.. keeping in touch with family and friends. We have one for the band and it has been a pretty effective as a marketing tool. Not only does it separate your personal from professional interactions, but it also has some pretty handy features like reporting to track fan interest and activity, multimedia options etc. It probably has lots of stuff we aren't even using, just haven't dug into it that deeply.

Maggie Hall said...

I second VistaPrint. I get address labels from them for our small business and the quality has always been good (I mean, they're not AH-mazing, but practically free, and way better than I could do on my home printer.) Tip: Google "free address labels" and a link to Vistaprint will come up where you can get them even cheaper than normal. I think you can do stickers there, too. You can print practically anything.

Good luck!

Angela Perry said...

Our #bookmarket chat group on Twitter had a guest speaker (tweeter?) on Goodreads a little while ago. We talked about the best ways authors can use Goodreads. It was very beneficial.

Actually, looking back at the history, we've discussed it twice :) You can read the transcripts here and here.

Bonnie said...

I'm team Vistaprint... Used them several times for address labels and biz cards... Quality is good, not top shelf, but solid and very inexpensive.

I like FB fan pages... It's a nice way for you to check in with your groupies without them having access to pix of your kids/pets, etc, a protective bubble for yourself, if you will. I don't twitter or tweet or twat or whatever, but I would assume a FB fan page would allow you to connect with your fans who are more like me and let you be more mouthy about it. ;)

erin said...

I don't know if you want easy or cheap, but most microsoft word packages come w/ templates and template online searches that will give you a do it yourself option. You just have to have a decent printer that will print on the sticker pages. I'm pretty computer simple and I've been able to use these to make decent stuff myself. :)

Judy, Judy, Judy said...

GR confuses me, too. I went on and your book is already in place so I put it on my plan to read shelf. There is no Tawna Fenske fan club yet so soon as I've read the book if no one beats me to it, I'll start one.

I don't like facebook fan pages either. I have friended you and I like reading your entries and commenting. You can send your tweets as entries so you don't have to do anything separate, can't you. I think that's what Crusie and Lucy March have done.

lora96 said... does good cheap address labels but I'm pretty sure you could use avery labels and make them in word with your cover image!

Goodreads baffles me> I have an account but...i don't know...

I'd go with a self-inking signature stamp. Those are about 8-12$ and will work just fine. Save your money for the tropical island you're going to buy once Making Waves takes off!

Bella Betty said...

Avery Labels also has templates on their web site for home printing. You type in the product number from the label package and then it guides you through the steps (from picking one already with art to starting blank). I use 'address labels' to package kits and create them with one large line of text. It is possible to change fonts, bold the letters etc. There's even arrows on the sheets so you feed them in correctly. You can also download the templates to use with your Word type programs.

Lisa Ahn said...

Add my name to team Vistaprint. You can even upload a photo of your book cover and put that on the address label. Here's the link:

Luanna Stewart said...

I hand sold a copy of your book this evening at our local Borders.

Unknown said...

I have a fan page on FB but to be honest I still haven't figured out how to use all the features

Sonja Foust said...

You probably have all the advice you can use about now, but here's my presentation on Facebook for Authors. Hope it helps. :)

Deirdre Puff said...

For the Facebook Page. I would suggest doing it.

I have one my for my painting. I'm just starting out so it's not super big (I'm tempted to put the link but don't want to be taken as spam). Anyway - at first it was mostly just friends - now strangers are liking it...because they searched paintings and found it. It's just another way to be searched and found for what you do.

It's also super easy to manage, gives you stats on who likes and how many likes and what the views are.

Also all postings for me go to my twitter linking back to FB page - which I use instead of a website, website is after FB - since I'll pay for a gooder (and FB is far)

I suggest it. Plus, all the other authors are doing it ;)